Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Movie Madness! Week 5 - Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Okay, remember when I said I was going to review Dead Snow next?
Yeah, I lied.
TOTALLY lied to you all.
And I could give the lame reason of not knowing Dead Snow was subtitled and I couldn't watch it while cleaning the house.
I'll watch it tonight possibly after Heroes.
Yes, I watch Heroes. Don't you judge me!
Even if I am a liar.
Okay...feel free to judge me.

ANYWAYS instead, while I was doing a ton of stuff, I popped Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth in since its been sitting in its Netflix envelope for about four months now. I know *GASP* a massive fan of Sir Pinhead and I never saw Hellraiser III? Well actually I have but only from the middle on and years ago. So now was the time to sit down and watch it from beginning to end.

Recap Time! So pretty much this takes place a while after Hellraiser II. A sleezoid club owner has bought a really creepy piece of art containing very familiar faces (well familiar to those who've seen Hellraiser I and II). Meanwhile a reporter, Joey, has witness a bizarre death of a club goer at a hospital in that chains ripping flesh sort of way. She plans to get to the bottom of it with the help of Terri, a young woman who is dumber than a bag of hammers. This of course leads to the box, Pinhead in a block of resin, and lots and LOTS of bloody death.
I could go into it more but there's a lot going on in this movie to really try to recap in one small paragraph.

As a stand alone movie, Hellraiser III ain't half bad. Its an interesting plot, the visual are great, and the special effects are really well done. Not to mention the new cenobites are pretty fantastic looking even if a bit gimmicky. I also loved seeing Doug Bradley play Eliot Spencer who seems like quite a stand up guy...well compared to Pinhead he was a stand up guy. Getting some more back story on Pinhead before he was Pinhead was great. I also liked Joey as a heroine and found myself rooting for her much more often than the bad guys. If I did not see the first two Hellraiser films before this I'd probably think is was really great.
But unfortunately I HAVE seen the first two Hellraiser movies before this. And I'm a huge fan of Hellraiser I and II. So this movie is a bit of a redheaded stepchild for me.
Now don't get me wrong, its wasn't bad and I didn't hate it. But compared to the first two it felt very pedestrian. The first two were so epic and unique it makes this one come across as a typical horror film. The passion and twisted feelings were gone and were replaced with just more gore and sex. And while the sex scene was more graphic, it really didn't even compare to the freaky passion in the first movie between Julia and Frank (which when you think about it, didn't really show much at all) .

The big thing that bugged me was the portrayal of Pinhead in this one. One of the main things I loved about El point-o face-o in the first films was how cold he was. He menaced with a cool calculation of a general. I liked his detachment. Its what set him apart from icons like Freddy and Jason. And that is what he lacked in this version of the film. Pinhead was a wee bit too gleeful in this. He cackled, he mugged at the camera, and he attempted some one liners which just came off as lame. To be frank, they cheapened my beloved Pinhead. One can argue that the reason Pinhead was not himself in this film was because his Eliot side was separated from him. I suppose you could look at it that way. But I did not enjoy the cackling over emotional Pinhead and I longed to give him some Thorazine.

So overall? I would recommend Hellraiser III mostly to finish up the trilogy that Clive Barker had some involvement in (I'm not sure how involved with III he was though). Its a fun film. But don't expect it to have the creativity and wow factor of the first two.

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